Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Stretching is a great way to take pressure off your spine, especially if you have to sit at a desk at work for hours and hours. Here’s a quick look at which stretches you should do to reduce your back pain, and a few that you should avoid.
Stretching For Success
If you have to sit for long periods, give your spine a break with these three stretches:
- Backward Hip Bends – If you’re seated at a desk for long hours, odds are you are inevitably going to hunch forward, putting strain on your back. To counteract this, every hour or so stand up, place your hands on your hips and lean backward, holding yourself in that position for 3-5 seconds. Do this a couple of times, and you’ll notice your back will be less stiff.
- Stretch Upwards – Another good move is to stand up at your desk and reach your hands up as high as you can in the air. Grab one hand with the other and slowly move your arms slightly behind your head. This helps to realign the spine.
- Work In Walking – This one isn’t exactly a stretch, but it’s based in keeping your spine in shape. When you get to work, park a little farther from the entrance, or take the stairs up to your floor. Activity, even in small packages, is good for your back. Better yet, if you’re not doing anything during your break or lunch, work in a 5-minute walk!
Stretches To Avoid
Here are three stretches that the spine surgeons say you can avoid:
- Cracking Your Spine – As one doctor put it, “I don’t have an ounce of good evidence to prove my theory, but I don’t think that this sort of self-adjustment is good for people.” He also said the more people crack their backs, the more they seem to need to crack their backs.
- Knee Twists – Another move without proven benefits is a stretch where you lie on your back, pull your knees up and twist side to side. It’s a more cumbersome stretch, and doctors say backward hip bends are actually more helpful for depressurizing your spine.
- Forward Back Bends – You also don’t need to be bending forward and touching your toes to loosen your spine. If you’re seated for a long time, your hamstrings can get tight, meaning you may compensate by bending at the back, which can overstretch it.